With or without the world’s fastest man, Cayman’s top track meet expects to dazzle.
KYSTAR Athletics, owned by Caymanian sprint queen Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens, is gearing up for the third annual Cayman Invitational. While the spectacle, planned for May 7 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, will lack some superstars like Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, Mothersill-Stephens insists their absence will not hurt the event.
“We would love to have him here but Bolt is not coming,” Mothersill-Stephens said. “It can’t be a Bolt (event) every time. Carmelita Jeter is pending as we’re working out contractual issues. I don’t feel any pressure to continue to bring in world-class athletes. We can only ask and the only thing they can say is yes or no and you move on to the next one.
“The athletes want to come here, so we have that going for us.”
Bolt, 27, opened his 100 meter season here in 2013 and beat training partner Kemar Bailey-Coe in a photo finish as both had identical times of 10.09 seconds. In 2012, Blake won the 100m event at the invitational in a time of 9.84 seconds.
Headlining this year’s meet will be Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown and American sprinter Allyson Felix. Campbell-Brown, 31, is a seven-time Olympic medalist and one of only two women in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200 meter events. Felix, 28, won gold at the 2012 London Olympics in the 200m and in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
Interestingly, Campbell-Brown tested positive for diuretics last June and was provisionally suspended from competition. In February, Campbell-Brown was cleared of all drug charges and was allowed to resume competition. Mothersill-Stephens serves as a committee member for the World Anti-Doping Agency and the invitational has the blessing of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee.
Cayman Islands Athletics Association president Dalton Watler said he was pleased with the involvement of both WADA and the CIOC for the meet.
“I extend my congratulations to Cydonie and my gratitude to the CIOC,” Watler said. “The CIOC is an important agency in ensuring athletes are clean and abide by the codes set out by WADA.”
Aside from visiting athletes, the meet is slated to showcase Caymanian talent like Kemar Hyman, Ronald Forbes, Tyrell Cuffy and Carl Morgan. Mothersill-Stephens, 36, is a former Commonwealth Games gold medal winner and while she has not officially retired, she said she will be sitting out this race.
“I’m not taking part, absolutely not. As everyone knows, I had a baby and it was premature. It was traumatic. I’m getting older and I’ve done quite a bit on the track. To have a baby, organize a meet and come back to race would be too much.”